REINS Act passed; could help make science accountable via elected reps who answer to the voters, not corporations
01/16/2017 / By Ethan Huff / Comments
REINS Act passed; could help make science accountable via elected reps who answer to the voters, not corporations

In response to eight horrific years of Barack Obama’s executive abuses, the House of Representatives recently passed legislation that gives Congress new veto power over any major rule or regulation coming out of the executive branch that impacts the economy by $100 million or more.

Known as the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or REINS, the bill requires Congress to review any executive orders passed outside the normal bounds of the legislative process, when such orders are estimated to cost Americans exorbitant amounts of money. Its aim is to stop the executive branch from acting as dictator, and instead restore power back to the people.

A recent report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute revealed that federal regulations currently cost Americans roughly $1.885 trillion, or the equivalent of more than $15,000 per household. At the time when the report was released in 2016, there were 60 federal departments, agencies and commissions facing 3,297 regulations at various stages of the regulatory pipeline. Under the REINS Act, Congress will now have 70 legislative days to review each of these regulations and decide whether or not they should move forward.

“The House has just passed a groundbreaking piece of legislation that remains consistent with my view in the rebalancing of power in the federal government,” says Congressman Jeff Duncan, a Republican from South Carolina who helped co-sponsor the bill.

“The outgoing administration broke constitutional restraints time and time again. By flaunting the immense power of executive rulemaking, the outgoing administration shamefully turned the pen and the phone into a political weapon against the American people. Without passing the REINS Act, the boundaries for administrative rulemaking are endless.”


Opponents worry REINS Act could undermine consumer protections

Because the REINS Act affects all areas of federal regulatory policy, including environmental issues, supporters say it will help make the scientific process more accountable to the people rather than corporations pushing a special interest agenda. Instead of corporations having the ability to work directly with the office of the presidency to force an agenda, the representatives of the voters – Congress – will instead have to review each and every proposal. (RELATED: Read more news on environmental protection at

“This legislation is historic,” Rep. Duncan adds. “Legislators … will now be forced to focus more on their craft, while the executive is restrained from the current practice. The people now have a say against these rules. It’s a win for all Americans. I call on the Senate to pass this major upgrade in American governance, where the people finally gain back a defense against the costly attacks on their ways of life by out of touch bureaucrats.”

However, opponents of the REINS Act say the bill could have a detrimental effect by undermining existing safety and environmental standards that protect both people and planet. While it might sound like a good thing that Congress now has the ability to veto regulations that are shadily enacted via executive order or that serve some other purpose besides benefiting the nation and its people, some see it as a major roadblock to positive reform.

Some also have concerns about what the REINS Act might do to over 40 years of “progress in environmental protection, civil rights, labor standards, health and safety and consumer protection,” to quote one source. While offered up as a measure to increase accountability, the REINS Act may end up being used for quite the opposite purpose, skeptics worry.

While almost nobody would argue that increasing accountability in government and stopping a runaway executive branch from dictating from the Oval Office is a bad thing, it is vitally important that any bill claiming to accomplish this is properly scrutinized and vetted. (Note: Read more news about liberty and the dangers of big government at

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